Blog AnalysisSocial Policy

Public Services, the Commission's Project: A Canada-Dry Guideline

(B2) Rather than a directive on services of general interest, the Commission could propose another, original method! : have the common principles of SGIs endorsed in a text taking the form of an interinstitutional agreement or a joint declaration by the three institutions (Council, Parliament, Commission). This is the current meaning of the draft communication on GIS, which is circulating in the Commission departments.

What exactly will this text be worth?

1° It is difficult to imagine that this text could commit the Member States beyond a political aspect. Therefore no binding effect, and possible prosecution in the event of failure to apply the provisions.

2° This text could therefore only bind the signatory bodies, starting with the Commission. However, it is clearly stated that the current rules of competition or free movement cannot be hindered by the application of these principles. This therefore does not solve what is one of the main points of friction on public services: the boundary problems with competitive and private services.

3° Finally, as the draft stands, the eight common principles are expressed in fairly general terms, more general than the previous White Paper on services of general interest was able to do. And it is difficult to calculate their real application.


Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).